Get Your Bible Study Online with Faithlife

Summer’s here, which makes this the perfect time to gather a church group or a collection of online friends for Bible study.

Start by combining the Faithlife Study Bible (which you can get for free) with Faithlife.com, and you’ll get all the tools you need to put together a powerful study for people who can’t regularly get together.

One church has already done this and seen amazing results! To let you in on their secret, Torn Curtain Church in Greenville, South Carolina put together a video that walks you through getting involved in their Colossians study:

Are you, your church, or your friends using a Faithlife study group? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.

Download the Faithlife Study Bible, and start your own group today!

Keep Your Group in the Loop with Faithlife Newsletters

One of the gems of Faithlife groups is a little-known feature, quietly waiting to show administrators an even better way to keep everyone on the same page—Faithlife newsletters.

Set the tone of your group

Neatly nestled in the corner of your group’s tabs, “Newsletters” is a nifty feature accessed through the drop-down menu.

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Newsletters open the door to a whole new class of communication. The tool’s intuitive design helps you put as much or as little detail into your message as you want. The basics display automatically–your headline, content section, and more. Click on the “+” symbol to open up a wealth of options to enhance your newsletter.

You can:

  • Highlight important conversations from your group’s news feed
  • Display meaningful Community Notes
  • Share prayer requests
  • Point out upcoming events
  • Send the newsletter to other affiliated groups
  • Show today’s Verse of the Day

Bring clarity to your members

Depending on the size of your group, a week, a month, or even a day can have more news, notes, and prayer requests than some of your group members can handle. In the information age, it’s all too easy to get buried with too many things to keep track of. Newsletters help you speak into the fog and showcase the things you need your group to know.

Get the word out

One of the hardest parts of communicating to large groups of people is figuring out the best method to make sure everyone sees it. Do you post it to your group? Do you send an email? When you send a newsletter, it’s visible to everyone in your Faithlife group, and it also emails the same message directly to everyone in the group, so you don’t have to create your message twice. So next time you’re trying to decide on the best way to get your message out, just remember–it’s both!

If you’re a group administrator, you have the power to provide your group with elegant, concise newsletters that are both engaging and informative. Or, if you don’t have the time yourself, find a responsible person in your group with more room in their schedule, and give them administrative privileges so they can share the load.

Once you start a newsletter, Faithlife saves it automatically. The draft can only be seen by administrators, so you’re free to take your time and send it when you’re ready to make an impression. Go to your group’s “Newsletters” tab and try it for yourself!

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The Faithlife Study Bible links Scripture passages that address the same topic, so you can make connections with just a click. Download the Faithlife Study Bible for free from your favorite app store, and take your Bible study to the next level.

The New and Improved Faithlife Calendar

We made some changes to the Faithlife calendar to make your life easier. Now, you can see and do everything you need right from the calendar tab.

Your status now appears next to each event. This field reminds you if you are hosting, attending, or undecided about an event, and you can change your status without leaving the full calendar view. Click on the highlighted text, and you can select your response to the event invitation from the drop-down menu.

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The calendar also displays more details about each event. You can see the type of event, in addition to the name of the event and any groups affiliated with the event. If you were invited as a part of a group, or if you invited an entire group, that group’s name and image appear below the event’s date and time.

You can also edit event details using this handy gear icon:

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Click on the gear icon next to the event you want to change, then alter or add anything you need. When you save, you’ll return to the calendar view. If you have a recurring event, such as a weekly Bible study, you can use this same wheel to download Outlook and iCal files to put the event into your regular calendar software.

We’ve also added the ability to filter the types of events you want to display. You can filter events by group, or choose “My events” to display events not associated with a group, like family events, personal reminders, and appointments—things that can get lost in everything else you have going on.

If you aren’t already using it, the calendar tab is more useful and dependable than ever. With these updates, it’s even easier to keep track of what’s happening in your faith community.

Introducing Faithlife.com Plugins

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Use the new “Join my group” plugin to connect your church’s website and Faithlife.com, so that when someone asks you for instructions on joining your church’s Faithlife group, you can say, “It’s on the website.”

Click the new “Plugins” item on the Faithlife.com menu, or visit Faithlife.com/Plugins. This is the first of several helpful plugins we have planned, so be on the lookout for more soon. When you click through to the “Join my group” plugin page, you’re only three easy steps from having a Faithlife.com “Join” button on your website.

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Step 1: Search for and select your group.

Use the search box to find the group you’d like to link to. If you have multiple Faithlife.com groups associated with your church (one for each small group, for example), you may like to place multiple plugins on your church website, perhaps setting aside a special page to serve as a catalog of your church’s groups.

Step 2: Choose from three display options.

Once you’ve selected a group from the search box and drop-down menu, you’ll be presented with three different button sizes—small, medium, and large. The small and medium buttons also include a drop-down menu with options for changing your group status. Select the size you prefer, and you’ll get a preview of the button and the code you need to place it on your website.

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You’ll notice that the button changes based on your group’s status. Any website visitor who is not a member of your group will see “Join,” but the button will display differently for website visitors who are already members. You can see an example of this below.

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Step 3: Copy and paste two code snippets to your website.

The final step is to copy two small lines of code into your website. One—beginning with “<script”—goes in the body; the other—beginning with “<p”—indicates exactly where you’d like the plugin to reside.

Make it easier for church members to connect with one another on Faithlife.com.

Place the “Join my group” plugin on your church’s website today.

Introducing Faithlife Discussions

Faithlife.com just got a brand-new feature to facilitate faith-based discussions.

A healthy faith community always contains diverse opinions, experiences, and interpretations of Scripture. Navigating the differences can be spiritually enriching in a way that few other things are (Proverbs 27:17). As we’ve often said: we learn best when we learn together.

Faithlife discussions makes enriching conversation on faith and doctrine easier than ever. And it’s simple. You’ll find the discussions section of your Faithlife group on the menu bar alongside newsletters, calendar, and other important group functions. If you don’t see it, use the down arrow to reveal more features.

Inside Faithlife discussions, you can create new discussion threads, view the post count, and read and reply to existing threads. Group members can comment on a thread by either adding their own thoughts in a comment or affirming with expressions like “Agree,” “Amen,” “Praise the Lord!,” “Stand Firm,” “Like,” and “Praying.” These options create a unique middle ground between a “like” and a full written response.

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Group administrators can moderate threads and comments with tools to edit, delete, and flag inappropriate posts.

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We hope that Faithlife discussions equip you to facilitate more meaningful conversation in your faith community.

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Faithlife.com is the digital home for your faith community. It’s free to join and invite others. Tools like prayer lists, reading plans, Community Notes, and a group newsletter make it easier than ever to communicate, collaborate, and fellowship around the Word of God. Join today at Faithlife.com.

Understanding Prayer Lists on Faithlife.com

Prayer lists add unique functionality to Faithlife.com. Here’s a quick primer on what they can do, and how to get the most out of them.

Setting user permissions

Faithlife offers five levels of access, and empowers you to set privacy settings for each that suite your group’s unique needs. In the group settings panel, determine which members will be permitted to connect to group prayer lists, create and share new prayer lists, and remove requests.

Regarding prayer lists, you have three decisions to make:

  1. Connect to prayer lists—That is, follow prayer lists. Anyone connected to a prayer list will be able to add requests of their own, see details on other added requests, and receive notifications about prayer requests inside their Faithlife Study Bible app.
  2. Create/Share new prayer lists—New prayer lists are created from inside Logos 5 (more on that later), and shared to a Faithlife group, but you may wish to limit access to only certain people, like administrators or moderators.
  3. Remove prayer lists—Prayer lists can be deleted easily, so guard this permission a little more cautiously to prevent inadvertent deletion.

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For a more detailed explanation of all privacy controls and user permissions on Faithlife.com, check out the post “Understanding the Privacy Settings on Faithlife.com.”

Creating new prayer lists in Logos 5

It’s easy. Select “Prayer lists” from the documents menu, give your list a title and start adding requests right away. You can set frequency and duration for each request and add tags so that your prayer requests so you can find them again later.

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Then, visit Documents.Logos.com to share it with a group. The “Collaborate” option will give a group ownership of your prayer list, so that members can add their own requests to it.

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You could, for example, create a prayer list about a missions trip that your small group plans to make together. You would create the list in Logos 5, seeding it with some general requests like “financial support” and “safe travels.” After announcing the trip, you could share the list with your group at Documents.Logos.com, and then members could connect to it and add their own more specific prayer requests.

Add a prayer list to the group’s sidebar

Though a prayer list may belong to a group, it may still not appear on the group’s page. A group administrator or moderator can add group lists to the sidebar for all to see. Tab over to the “Sidebar” section of the group settings menu, and drag a prayer-list widget to make shared prayer requests visible to all group members.

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Faithlife.com is the digital home for your faith community. It’s free to join and invite others. Tools like prayer lists, reading plans, Community Notes, and a group newsletter make it easier than ever to communicate, collaborate, and fellowship around the Word of God. Join today at Faithlife.com.